Чак Хэйгел
06 октября, 14:15

Has The Israel Lobby Destroyed Americans’ First Amendment Rights?

Has The Israel Lobby Destroyed Americans’ First Amendment Rights? Paul Craig Roberts The Israel Lobby has shown its power over Americans’ perceptions and ability to exercise free speech via its influence in media, entertainment and ability to block university tenure appointments, such as those of Norman Finkelstein and Steven Salaita. Indeed, the power of the… The post Has The Israel Lobby Destroyed Americans’ First Amendment Rights? appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

19 сентября, 12:05

Pentagon reporters frustrated by Mattis

Trump's war on the press may be spilling over into the Defense Department, journalists fear.

31 июля, 03:30

Four Positive Developments—and a Negative One

Two weeks ago I wrote about the things that had gone as expected in the Trump era—namely, the character and…

20 июля, 02:25

President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts

President Donald J. Trump today announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key positions in his Administration: Joseph Balash of Alaska to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Land and Mineral Management. Mr. Balash currently serves as the Chief of Staff to Senator Dan Sullivan. He is the former Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, which has management responsibility for one of the largest single portfolios of land and water resources in the world. Previously he served as the Deputy Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources from 2010 to 2013. From 2006 to 2010, he advised two governors on natural resource policy, permitting, and energy. Prior to that, from 1998 to 2006, he served in a variety of legislative staff positions, including Chief of Staff to the President of the Alaskan Senate. He graduated from Ben Eielson Jr.-Sr. High School in 1993. He is married with two children. Samuel H. Clovis Jr. of Iowa to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics. Mr. Clovis is the Senior White House Advisor to the United States Department of Agriculture. Most recently, he served as the chief policy advisor and national co-chair of the Trump-Pence campaign. He came to the campaign from Morningside College where he was a professor of economics. Mr. Clovis holds a B.S. in political science from the U.S. Air Force Academy, an M.B.A. from Golden Gate University and a Doctorate in public administration from the University of Alabama. He is also a graduate of both the Army and Air Force War Colleges. After graduating from the Academy, Mr. Clovis spent 25 years serving in the Air Force. He retired as the Inspector General of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the United States Space Command and was a command pilot. Mr. Clovis is married to the former Charlotte Chase of Piketon, OH. He is originally from rural central Kansas. Daniel Alan Craig of Maryland to be Deputy Administrator, of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Craig was most recently a senior Vice President at the disaster preparedness and recovery consulting firm, Adjusters International, Inc. In this capacity, he oversaw firm sales, business development, marketing, and relationships with clients. Before this position, Mr. Craig was the CEO and President of Tidal Basin Holdings, a company he founded in the emergency management industry. Mr. Craig previously served as the Director of Recovery for FEMA. He managed the Agency’s recovery services and funds given to individual victims and the public sector for damages from more than 120 Presidentially-declared disasters, emergencies, and fires, including September 11th, the Space Shuttle Columbia explosion, the Cerro Grande Fire in Los Alamos, and the Florida Hurricanes of 2004. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Purdue University as well as an M.B.A. from both Purdue University and Central European University. J. Steven Dowd of Florida to be United States Director of the African Development Bank for a term of five years. Mr. Dowd has decades of executive experience in trade, logistics, and finance, with a significant focus on Africa. Mr. Dowd co-founded Ag Source, LLC, a global agriculture logistics, transportation, and finance company. His prior experience includes overseeing food aid operations and leading port infrastructure projects in Africa. Mr. Dowd also served as CEO of Marcona Ocean Industries, an international shipping and mining company. Mr. Dowd holds a B.S. in History from Manhattan College, and earned a M.A. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, where he was designated as a Georgetown Fellow in Foreign Service. Mark T. Esper of Virginia to be Secretary of the Army. Mr. Esper is an Army, Pentagon, and Capitol Hill veteran who previously served as a Vice President for government relations at the Raytheon Company. Mr. Esper began his career as an Infantry Officer in the 101st Airborne Division, serving with distinction in the first Gulf War. He later served on active duty in Europe and on the Army Staff in Washington, DC, before transitioning to the National Guard and retiring after 21 years of service. He was an airborne ranger and recipient of the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and Meritorious Service Medals, among other awards and qualifications. Mr. Esper worked national security issues on Capitol Hill for Senators Chuck Hagel, Fred Thompson, and Majority Leader Bill Frist. He was also a professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations and House Armed Services Committees, and later a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. Mr. Esper’s private sector experience includes service as an Executive Vice President at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Policy Director for Fred Thompson for President during the 2008 campaign, and EVP of the Aerospace Industries Association of America. Mr. Esper is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, and George Washington University. Kathleen M. Fitzpatrick of the District of Columbia to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. Ms. Fitzpatrick, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, has served as an American diplomat since 1983. She is currently the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the Department of State. Ms. Fitzpatrick earned a M.S. from the U.S. National War College, a M.A. from Georgetown University and a B.A. from the University of Dayton. Her languages include Spanish, French, Russian, Dutch and some Arabic. Daniel J. Kaniewski of Minnesota to be Deputy Administrator for National Preparedness, of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Kaniewski was most recently Vice President for Global Resilience at AIR Worldwide, a catastrophe risk modeling and consulting services firm, and a Senior Fellow at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security. Previously, Dr. Kaniewski served as the Mission Area Director for Resilience and Emergency Preparedness/Response at the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute. He was also an adjunct assistant professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, where he taught graduate courses in the Security Studies Program. Before these positions, Dr. Kaniewski served on the White House staff, first as Director of Response and Recovery Policy and later as Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Senior Director for Response Policy. Dr. Kaniewski began his career in homeland security as a firefighter and paramedic. He holds a B.S. in Emergency Medical Services from George Washington University, a Master of Arts degree in National Security Studies from the Georgetown University, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from George Washington University. Anthony Kurta of Montana to be a Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Personnel and Readiness. Mr. Kurta was most recently fulfilling the duties of Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, where he was responsible for health affairs, readiness, civilian and military personnel policy for Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard, and civilian members of the Department of Defense. Mr. Kurta previously served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy and the Director of Navy Flag Officer Management and Development. In addition, Mr. Kurta served 32 years on Active Duty as a Navy Surface Warfare Officer, during which time he commanded the USS Sentry (MCM 3), USS Guardian (MCM 5), USS Warrior (MCM 10), USS Carney (DDG 64), Destroyer Squadron Two Four and Combined Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA). He is a recipient of Defense Superior Service Medals, Legions of Merit, Meritorious Service Medals, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award. Mr. Kurta is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Georgetown University, Air Command and Staff College, and was a National Security Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He retired from the Navy as a Rear Admiral. Ted McKinney of Indiana to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. Mr. McKinney is director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, serving from 2014 to present under then Governor Mike Pence, and now Governor Eric Holcomb. Mr. McKinney grew up on a family grain and livestock farm in Tipton, Indiana. He also worked for 19 years with Dow AgroSciences, and 14 years with Elanco, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company, where he was Director of Global Corporate Affairs. His industry and civic involvements include the National FFA Conventions Local Organizing Committee, Indiana State Fair Commission, International Food Information Council (IFIC), the U.S. Meat Export Federation, International Federation of Animal Health (IFAH), and the Purdue Dean of Agriculture Advisory Committee. Mr. McKinney was a 10-year 4-H member, an Indiana State FFA Officer, and a graduate of Purdue University where he received a B.S. in Agricultural Economics in 1981. While at Purdue, he received the G.A. Ross Award as the outstanding senior male graduate. In 2002, he was named a Purdue Agriculture Distinguished Alumnus, and in 2004, received an honorary American FFA Degree. Mr. McKinney and his wife Julie have three children and four grandchildren. A. Wess Mitchell of Virginia to be an Assistant Secretary of State, European and Eurasian Affairs. Mr. Mitchell is an expert on NATO and transatlantic relations. In 2005 he co-founded the Center for European Policy Analysis and has served as its President and CEO since 2009. He serves on numerous policy boards in the United States and Europe. Mr. Mitchell earned a B.A. from Texas Tech University, a M.A. from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and recently completed his Ph.D. at Freie Universität, in Berlin, Germany. He speaks German and has studied Dutch and Czech. Robert L. Wilkie of North Carolina to be Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Mr. Wilkie currently serves as Senior Advisor to Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina. He most recently served in the Presidential Transition Office, where he was a member of both the Defense Policy Team and Cabinet Affairs Teams. Previously, Mr. Wilkie served as Vice President for Strategic Initiatives for CH2M HILL, one of the world’s largest engineering and program management firms. He also served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs as well as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs on the National Security Council during the George W. Bush Administration. On Capitol Hill, Mr. Wilkie served as Counsel and Advisor on International Security Affairs for the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Honorable Trent Lott. Mr. Wilkie currently serves in the United States Air Force Reserve, and previously in the United States Navy Reserve. He is a graduate of Wake Forest University, Loyola University College of Law (New Orleans), Georgetown University Law Center, and the United States Army War College. He is also a graduate of the College of Naval Command and Staff, the Joint Forces Staff College and the Air Command and Staff College.  

12 июня, 17:38

Trump's Surge In Afghanistan

The Trump administration is on the brink of making decision on another ‘surge” in Afghanistan. A significant increase in American forces along with a mandate to engage directly in combat has been strongly pressed by National Security Advisor (General) H.R. McMaster, Secretary of Defense (General) James Mattis, and the Pentagon brass. Yet, there is still no clear statement of aim or measure of (unlikely) success. Is this another senseless gesture in the endless “war on terror?” What is the underlying logic? This latest attempt to fashion a Taliban-free Afghanistan raises the question of how rational is American foreign policy. Sending more troops to Afghanistan when you’ve failed miserably to achieve your (undefined) objective over the past 15 years with much larger contingents seems to defy reason. Several explanations, not excuses, come to mind. One is that there exists an implicit logic that is not acknowledged but salient for the person(s) involved. The Pentagon brass may well be less concerned about “winning” in Afghanistan, whatever that means, than they are living with the intolerable perception that they “lost.” No general cum security policy-maker wants to be saddled with the label of “loser.” That sensitivity can become institutionally generalized; Generals Mattis and McMaster are in little danger of being blamed personally for failure in Afghanistan. What seems to count is that they do not want the U.S. military to be stigmatized as a failure. They are acutely aware of how much the image of the uniformed military suffered as a result of America losing its first war in Vietnam. It follows that they might hope against hope that the outcome can be fudged enough so as to escape that fate.** There is a practical side to this concern, too. Failure, as perceived in the public eye, could tarnish the resplendent image so successfully cultivated during the “war on terror” era. That could translate into less support for bigger budgets, less lucrative consultancies after retirement, and less acclaim. And a weaker voice in policy debates. If one were to postulate that these are cardinal objectives, then campaigning to send several thousand more troops on a strategically pointless mission is logical – and the plan’s promoters not as obtuse as they appear. What of senior policy-makers in and around the White House who do not share those particular interests? A second reality to keep in mind is that governments are plural nouns – or, pronouns with multiple antecedents. The numerous organizations, bureaucracies and individuals involved in decision-making typically lead to a convoluted process wherein it is easy to lose track of purposes, priorities and coordination. Where little discipline is imposed by the chief, the greater the chances that the result will be contradictory, disjointed, sub-optimal and often poorly executed policies. That’s why the White House cried havoc about North Korea’s threat while the presumed coercive instrument sailed blissfully in the opposite direction heading for an extended shore leave. Finally, we should recognize that rigorous thinking is far from the norm - at the highest levels of government as well as in everyday life. It takes a combination of education/training, intellectual integrity, a cultivated sense of responsibility, discomfort with deciding on the basis of skimpy or suspect information, and an ingrained preference for knowing why you’re doing something instead of flying by the seat of your pants. True, when practiced and reinforced, rigorous thinking can become habitual – just like other modes of human behavior. There are multiple influences, though, that militate against that habit taking root and being sustained. They include the lure of celebrity, time pressures due to an excess of travel and/or summonses to mind-numbing TV interviews, long-tedious-inconclusive meetings (such as those presided over by Susan Rice which drove Chuck Hagel out of government), endless bureaucratic games-playing, distracted Chief Executives who demand ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers to complex issues. Altogether, the tumult can soften the toughest mind. Weaker minds simply latch onto whatever conventional wisdom and catch phrases are floating around in order to remain minimally functional in the kaleidoscopic setting of most administrations. All of these patterns with attendant adverse consequences are more likely to crystallize into stupid acts when the man nominally in charge lacks the intelligence, emotional stability, self-awareness and/or advisors to recognize either the requirements for sound policy-making or for implementation. A stubborn unwillingness to accept responsibility and to be held accountable exacerbates matters. A business career such as Trump’s is not the desired preparation. Not only is that world fundamentally different from the world of public affairs (and especially foreign policy) Further, Trump partially compensated for his flaws through coercion, cheating, and duplicity. And at the end of the day, he could rig the books. That modus operandi doesn’t fly in the Middle East or in dealing with the likes of Vladimir Putin or Xia Jinping. “Willful ignorance,” or “studied ignorance,” is an increasingly familiar phenomenon. Not just in Washington but among heads of large organizations of all stripes. The inclination to avoid acquiring knowledge about a matter either at hand or looming is not necessarily a sign of stupidity. Here, too, there may be hidden considerations at play. American foreign policymakers may wish to mask the Kabul government’s faltering popular support because doing so means a fundamental rethink of aims- an agonizing reappraisal for which they are unprepared intellectually, politically, and diplomatically. Vietnam is the central reference point for McMaster’s strategic perspective. He wrote his doctoral dissertation at the University of North Carolina on the topic – the work that has given him the reputation of being the best mind in the Army – the embodiment of the “soldier-scholar.” The book’s thesis is that the uniformed military’s leaders failed in their duty by not remonstrating against Lyndon Johnson’s misrepresentations of conditions in Vietnam. The premise is that they had an accurate, unbiased understanding while Johnson was a chronic liar who had his political image foremost in mind. This is a very dubious proposition. The top United States’ commanders in Vietnam were as blind to realities as were the civilians in Washington. Their lying about capabilities (theirs and the Communists), the battlefield picture, and what was going down politically became proverbial. The daily briefing at command headquarters in Saigon was universally called the “5 O’clock Follies” by the press corps.** The commander of U.S. forces, General William Westmoreland, was notorious for his upbeat testimony to Congress and other public statements which bore only the faintest connection to reality. The conventional soldier epitomized, Westmoreland never understood what he was up against. He did not help his reputation by suppressing Intelligence estimates regarding the size of the forces confronting him. Has McMaster observed the lessons that he drew from his study of the military’s Vietnam experience? If so, he would be stressing to the President and his associates the following: there is no way to topple Assad other than to intervene with several hundred thousand American troops; persisting in the attempt to set up a Sunni protectorate under American auspices in the Syrian-Iraqi desert is a fool’s errand with no strategic rationale; continual Turkish sustenance for ISIS (as well as al-Nusra) greatly exacerbates the challenge of suppressing it; permanent bases (or toll roads manned by Blackwater-like thugs) in Syria and/or Iraq will worsen threats to American security while providing little tangible advantage; the choices in Afghanistan are between withdrawing now with mission unaccomplished or withdrawing later with mission unaccomplished at far greater cost; Russia does not pose a military threat to its European neighbors in terms of its security interests, capabilities, intent or deterrence calculations. On all of these matters, McMaster – like Secretary of Defense General James Mattis – has rendered quite the opposite advice (as far as we know) while publicly fostering a fantasy view of them. In so doing, they are perpetuating the set of American policies (in the Greater Middle East) pursued since the “war on terror’s” initiation in 2001. That exercise calls to mind the WW II submarine hunter who innovated by drilling a hole in the bottom of his boat to better track his prey – the main difference being that the U-boat hunter knew how to swim. How to characterize this behavior? It certainly is short-sighted. We can say that the policies have not been fully thought through; that they are misguided in not crisply defining objectives, not setting priorities, and not rigorously linking means to ends. It is negligent rather than outright ‘dumb’.  That is to say, officials had the mental capacity to get these logical connections right; but they were inclined not to use it in choosing the course of least effort and least resistance. Is this ignorance? No. Is it willful ignorance cum sublimation – yes, in part. Is acting in this manner ‘dumb’? Strategically, yes. In careerist, political and organizational terms? – perhaps not. It is simply dishonest and runs the risk of self brain-washing. Is it ‘dumb’ to take that risk? Yes.  At that stage in the flight from rationality, being lauded as “the best brain in the Army” promises no salvation. Quite the opposite.  Your policies – if not you individually – are doomed. This pattern has something to do with uncritical commitment to an inheritance of established national goals which have taken on the aura of self-evident – if not gospel - truth. Those goals may well be unrealistic. Is that itself an indication of obtuseness? No – just bad judgment. However, the efforts to reach those goals deserve the designation of ‘dumb’ when: 1) the resources requisite for success are clearly absent; 2) the odds on achieving success have been skewed so as to obscure how improbable the outcome sought actually is; and/or 3) flawed logic is used in relating means to the stated end. Think of Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iran, Ukraine. Bad judgment itself may stem from adherence to a rigid doctrine or ideology. (Goal: secure U.S. strategic hegemony globally; doctrine:  full spectrum military dominance in every region; priority policy objective: access to an archipelago of bases). The act of adhesion can be seen as signaling ignorance or lack of perception – but not low IQ intelligence. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

27 марта, 02:56

Trump Must Stand His Ground with NATO

Ted Galen Carpenter Security, Europe Trump should make good on his word and cut off NATO allies that refuse to pull their weight. President Trump’s tense meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed that he is serious about insisting on greater financial burden sharing within NATO. Not only did the president criticize Germany’s continuing failure to meet the commitment that alliance members made following the 2006 summit meeting to spend a minimum of 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense, but he added another barb. Trump stated that Merkel’s government owed NATO (and, by implication, the United States as NATO’s leader) “vast sums” of money for the prior years that Germany failed to meet the 2 percent target. German officials flatly rejected both his demand and his reasoning, even arguing that difference in the relative expenditures of alliance members should not really matter to the collective defense effort. This was hardly the first time that a U.S. administration has pressed for greater burden sharing from NATO’s European members. As I’ve noted previously, Dwight Eisenhower’s secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, threatened to conduct an “agonizing reappraisal” of Washington’s commitment to Europe’s security if allies did not do more. More recently, Barack Obama’s secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel, warned that European nations must increase their defense efforts, or domestic support for America’s NATO obligations would be in jeopardy. U.S. officials undercut their own warnings, however, by simultaneously stressing the importance of Europe’s security to America’s own. When those officials habitually asserted that the continent’s well-being was not merely an important U.S. interest, but a vital one, European leaders understandably dismissed the accompanying warnings as lacking credibility. They either ignored the demand for greater burden sharing or (as in 2006) made paper promises for a greater effort, which they then promptly violated. Alan Tonelson, a former associate editor with Foreign Policy, aptly identified the inherent futility of Washington’s burden-sharing approach. Read full article

11 марта, 08:00

Геи-насильники в армии США

Около трех с половиной тысяч сексуальных нападений было официально зафиксировано в рядах армии Соединённых Штатов Америки в 2012 году. При этом анонимные исследования показали, что не менее 26 тысяч эпизодов так и остались не обнародованными. Об этом сообщил журналистам глава Пентагона Чак Хейгел. Подробнее о явлении гомосексуализма в статье: Статистика о гомосексуализме Впервые власти США […]

14 февраля, 06:46

Bowe Bergdahl Can't Get A Fair Trial After Trump 'Traitor' Attacks, Lawyers Say

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); Lawyers defending Bowe Bergdahl, the Army sergeant charged with desertion, argued in court Monday that the charges should be dismissed because Donald Trump’s repeated campaign attacks on him as a “traitor” make a fair trial impossible.  Military Judge Jeffery Nance conceded during a pretrial hearing at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, that Trump’s comments were “disturbing,” The Associated Press reported. He didn’t immediately rule on the motion to dismiss the charges. Bergdahl walked away from his base in Afghanistan in 2009 and was captured by the Taliban and held for five years. In a controversial barter, the Obama administration traded five Taliban prisoners to secure his freedom. Bergdahl’s complicated story, including torture during his captivity, were the focus of a “Serial” podcast last year. He has said he walked away from his post to call attention to problems at the base.  The motion to dismiss the charges, filed by Bergdahl’s defense team last month, lists dozens of times Trump spoke publicly about the Army sergeant. In a campaign appearance in Iowa in 2015, Trump said Bergdahl should be “thrown out of an airplane without a parachute,” according to the motion. The motion argues that the charges should be dismissed because “President Trump’s statements are prejudicial to Sergeant Bergdahl’s right to a fair trial and inimical to public confidence in the administration of military justice.” Lawyers played a video of Trump at campaign rallies in court on Monday. Trump referred to Bergdahl as a “traitor” or a similar insult at least 45 times at rallies or in media interviews, according to defense lawyers. The slurs included calling Bergdahl a “no-good, dirty, rotten traitor,” a “horrible, terrible, dirty, rotten traitor,” a “dirty rotten deserter,” a “whack job,” a “son of a bitch” and a “bum.” He said Bergdahl “should be shot,” and in the “good old days” would have been executed. Trump told campaign crowds that “at least six soldiers” were killed trying to rescue Bergdahl. In fact, former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel testified before Congress in 2014 that there was no evidence linking any U.S. combat deaths to the search for Bergdahl. The sergeant was heavily criticized at the time for placing colleagues searching for him at risk.  Critics attacked Obama’s prisoner exchange as a compromise with terrorists. Hagel said that none of the detainees released by the U.S. had been linked to any terror attack. Bergdahl appealed in vain for a pardon from then-President Barack Obama in December.  The case isn’t the first time Trump’s words have complicated a court action. In upholding an order blocking Trump’s travel ban last week, a U.S. Court of Appeals panel said Trump’s campaign promise of a “Muslim ban” may be “considered in evaluating ... Equal Protection Clause claims,” even though the president didn’t use the phrase in his executive order. Trump’s criticism of military personnel is a sensitive subject, because he received four student deferments during the Vietnam War and never served in the military. He has said he suffered through his own “personal Vietnam” dodging sexually transmitted diseases during war-era frolicking.  During his campaign, Trump attacked war hero Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Trump claimed McCain “wasn’t a war hero” because he was captured. “I like people that weren’t captured,” Trump added. type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related Coverage + articlesList=566b22d2e4b080eddf581bf2,567327d5e4b0b958f655ee08,58433d32e4b09e21702f0796,56a2466fe4b0d8cc1099b6da,566f2eace4b011b83a6c29cd -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

24 января, 01:30

Former State Department spokesperson Marie Harf joins Fox News

Harf was most recently a senior communications officer to former Secretary of State John Kerry.

20 января, 02:52

'We Should Have Pushed Harder': Obama's Gitmo Czars Reflect On His Failure To Close The Prison

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); On his first day in office, President Barack Obama signed an executive order directing that the Guantanamo Bay prison facility “be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than one year from the date of this order.” The prison camp on the island of Cuba had come to symbolize the abuses of the war on terror. Shutting it down was supposed to be easy. The Bush administration had already begun the process. But eight years of partisan battles, bureaucratic infighting and a last-ditch effort later, the facility that Obama once labeled a “blot on our national honor” remains open. No one is more acutely aware of that failure than the men Obama chose to lead his effort to shutter the camp. They can point to some successes in their mission. About 780 men and boys were incarcerated at Gitmo at one point or another. Exactly 242 remained when Obama took office and today just 41 men are imprisoned there. Yet it’s likely those men will stay at Gitmo for the rest of their lives. Looking back, the “Guantanamo czars” say the administration made key mistakes by badly misjudging the mood of Congress, agreeing to use military tribunals and not moving fast enough to close the prison from the very start. To members of the Obama administration, the Guantanamo prison camp, which President George W. Bush had opened in 2002 to house the so-called masterminds behind the 9/11 attacks, always felt like an inherited burden. “In the Bush administration, there were a lot of decisions made in haste and in the emotion of the moment that turned out not to be wise, and Guantanamo was one of them,” said Daniel Fried, a career diplomat who served as a special assistant to Bush and became Obama’s first special envoy for Guantanamo closure. By the end of the Bush administration, Fried said, hundreds of detainees had already being transferred elsewhere, and White House officials wanted to close the prison. Fried recalled a Bush official muttering that if all of the detainees were released, the damage they might do would be less than damage the existence of Guantanamo itself did to the U.S. effort to fight terrorists around the world. When Obama took office in 2009, his goal was to send as many of the 242 remaining prisoners back to their own countries as possible. For those who couldn’t go home due to prolonged instability or fear of religious persecution, he would find other nations willing to take them. Those not yet cleared for release would be held in federal prisons. A smaller group accused of crimes against the U.S. would be housed in federal prisons and tried in federal courts. Closing the camp had drawn support from prominent Republican voices on foreign policy, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who had just lost the presidential race to Obama. “It did not seem to be highly contentious and I think it would be fair to say that in the early days of the transition we thought this would take place in the ordinary course of business,” said Greg Craig, Obama’s first White House counsel, who drafted the executive order to close Guantanamo. Still, nobody in the administration was immediately assigned the job. It was a mistake. With no one officially focused on Gitmo closure, no one was watching for any red flags in Congress. One day, Craig received a warning. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called and told him that Congress was tacking language onto a funding bill that would ban the administration from moving any Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. Craig felt unsure of what to do. The legislative fight wasn’t in his job description. “I said, ‘That’s something that the congressional liaison people are handling. I’ll make sure that they are on top of it,’” he recalled. Now he sees that moment as a turning point. “The fact that suddenly the Republicans were seeking to put conditions on the closure of Guantanamo, and the fact that in the administration we weren’t fighting back or weren’t reacting to defend our freedom to close it, was a warning shot, in retrospect,” Craig said. The more intense the controversy grew, the less willing we were to engage in that fight. Greg Craig, President Obama's first White House counsel As that bill was being readied, the Obama White House was working on its first detainee transfers — the last 17 Uighurs left at Gitmo. The Uighurs were Chinese Muslims who had traveled to Afghanistan in the 1990s to flee persecution at home. They would face further persecution if sent back to China. But keeping them at Guantanamo was also wrong: They had been handed over to the U.S. after the Afghanistan invasion in exchange for bounty, and they had no connection to 9/11 or the Iraq War. “If we had problems with [releasing] the Uighurs,” Craig said, “we were going to have problems with everybody.” Obama administration officials decided to resettle the Uighurs in the United States. The first few would be released in Northern Virginia, where there was an existing Uighur community. But in early May 2009, after the media reported the administration’s plans, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) gave an impassioned speech on the House floor saying he didn’t want “terrorists” in his district. Congress soon passed a measure effectively preventing U.S. resettlement of the detainees — the same measure Feinstein had warned Craig about. Half a year after taking office, the Obama administration had lost the first Gitmo battle. The administration backed off. “I would say that the more intense the controversy grew, the less willing we were to engage in that fight,” Craig said. Craig’s own tenure as White House counsel lasted less than a year. He left the administration in January 2010. News accounts claimed he was pushed out in part because he couldn’t get the ball rolling fast enough on Guantanamo. “We were losing 700,000 jobs a month, we were trying to put together a bipartisan coalition to support a national health insurance program, and there were only so many fights that could be conducted at the same time,” said Craig, now of counsel at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. But Obama still hoped to close Guantanamo, Craig said. “On the day I left, I think he still believed that he could close it.” As the Uighurs’ fate was being debated, the White House finally picked someone to focus full-time on shutting down the prison camp: Fried. The newly appointed Guantanamo czar had worked in the Foreign Service since the late 1970s, under Democratic and Republican presidents. He sees the political process as often unnecessarily partisan and warns people to “watch out for decisions taken in the heat of the moment,” paraphrasing one of his idols, Irish political philosopher Edmund Burke. When then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked Fried to take on the Guantanamo job, she “was wry about it,” he recalled. “She said, ‘Hey, you were in the Bush administration for eight years right? Then you can help clean up one of their messes.’” But Fried soon found himself constrained by Republican lawmakers determined to stop the administration from moving Guantanamo detainees anywhere for any purpose. “The vast majority of Congress was not willing to do anything, because if just one person went back to the battlefield, then they would be blamed,” explained former Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), who helped lead the fight in Congress to close the prison. “It was easier to let people be indefinitely confined in some cases and tortured so that no one in power would risk being accused of being soft on terrorists.” The administration had expected that transferring the detainees to third countries would be its most difficult task, Fried said. “We thought that the issues of trials would be far easier,” he said, “That turned out to be just wrong.” By the time Fried was considering which detainees to try in federal court, Republican lawmakers were moving full speed to stop that, too. The congressional measure that prevented the Uighurs from being resettled in the U.S. also restricted the use of federal funds to transfer prisoners from Gitmo to U.S. soil for the purposes of prosecution. To Fried, it was clearly politics at play. He had seen how earnestly Bush staffers sought to close the prison with no pushback from the Republicans — and no support from Democrats. Now he was witnessing a 180-degree reversal. “It was very clear to me that the path [to closure] was getting narrower and narrower,” said Fried. “I think the Republicans and the Democrats both were inconsistent. Why didn’t the Democrats help both [administrations]? They didn’t want to help Bush at all. Why didn’t the Republicans take seriously the national security problems that Gitmo posed? Well, because they wanted to go after Obama.” Blocked from using federal courts to try Gitmo detainees, Fried and the White House were left with one option for legal proceedings: military tribunals. Guantanamo’s military tribunal system had been established under a Bush executive order, struck down by the Supreme Court in 2006 and quickly re-established by Congress the same year. Several detainees had been charged during Bush’s tenure, but less than a handful had been judged and sentenced. The system had a history of delays. Obama decided to meet Republicans in the middle. By reforming and using the tribunals, Craig said, the president aimed to show that he could pursue bipartisan solutions on national security issues.   Today, that effort to play ball with Republicans at a time when many of them were actively attempting to tighten the reins on the executive branch seems idealistic at best. To several of the former Gitmo czars, Obama’s decision to go ahead with the military tribunals was the kiss of death for Guantanamo closure. “As long as the military tribunal process was going, it would be very hard to close Guantanamo because that was the location of the military tribunal,” Craig said. Fried had harsher words. “This mythology arose that federal courts are weak because they give rights to terrorists,” he said. “It’s a very snappy bumper sticker. So the Obama administration turned to military tribunals. It turned out to be just wrong, demonstrably false. Federal courts are not weak, they are strong, they get convictions. ... But we caved to the pressure. I’m sorry we did it. We should have pushed harder.” Only 30 detainees would be formally charged under the military tribunals during the Obama presidency, and a mere eight would make it through trial to conviction. Part of the problem was that the tribunals were “untested institutions,” Fried said, without the well-established rules and procedures of the federal court system. “Because they lacked a kind of public legitimacy,” Fried said, “the military bent over backwards to try to be fair, which meant more opportunities for delay.” Craig called the system a complete “failure.” “The president of the United States promised swift and certain justice when he became president in January 2009,”  he said, “and we’ve had anything but.” Seeing his fellow lawmakers’ disdain for the prisoners, Moran, the Virginia congressman pushing to close the prison, began to lose hope that the Guantanamo situation could be fixed at all. “I thought it was a state of deliberate people not wanting to know the facts,” he said. “For 200 years, our judicial system has stood the test of time, and here we violated it. … Here you create this suspension of justice, and you let them wallow in despair and in complete violation of the historical norms.” Fried labored for over three years as the Gitmo czar, transferring 70 detainees in total. (The administration also moved out a handful before he came on board.) His efforts kept hitting roadblocks, including when Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives in 2010. But it was the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011, which required that any country willing to accept a Guantanamo detainee must first guarantee that the released man would never again engage in terrorism activity, that ultimately “exhausted all of the political capital,” Fried said. In January 2013, at the beginning of Obama’s second term, Fried was reassigned. For several months, the president chose not to appoint a new special envoy for Guantanamo closure. We caved to the pressure. I’m sorry we did it. We should have pushed harder. Former Guantanamo czar Daniel Fried, speaking of the decision not to try detainees in federal court But Obama hadn’t given up yet. In May of that year, speaking at the National Defense University, he recommitted his administration to closing Guantanamo, then under renewed public scrutiny because multiple detainees had gone on hunger strikes. The timing was important on another level as well: The president was thinking about his legacy. “I sort of suspected that the White House might give it another try,” Fried said. “There is nothing like legacy time to get people to focus.” In July 2013, Obama appointed lawyer Clifford Sloan as the new special envoy on the advice of Secretary of State John Kerry, who knew him personally. Sloan was a partner at the Skadden law firm (Craig knew and approved of him, too) who had once served in President Bill Clinton’s White House. At the time Sloan took the helm, there were 166 prisoners left at Guantanamo and more than half of them had been approved for transfer. “They were just languishing there, and I thought it was unconscionable,” Sloan said. Still, he knew that closing the prison would be an uphill battle. “I had people tell me, ‘You’re not going to be able to move a single person.’” But Sloan hoped that the passage of time might have eased some fears in Congress. He even came close to persuading the Senate to pass a bill allowing the administration to transfer some detainees to the U.S. That language was ultimately stripped from the legislation. “It was frustrating that you couldn’t get this limited authority and move them to the U.S.,” Sloan said. “It’s totally at odds with anything we’ve ever done with the law of war detention.” Sloan did manage to get language passed that made it easier to send detainees to third countries that were willing to monitor them. He also set up a periodic review board to speed up the process of determining which prisoners could be released. And during his 16 months on the job, he transferred 39 prisoners to other countries and set the path for release of 11 more. Sloan also faced some unexpected hurdles within the Obama administration. “There was a period where there were a number of transfers that were completely ready to go and there was a period of unnecessary delay,” he said. According to media reports at the time, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was dragging his feet on releasing the detainees because he was concerned they would kill Americans once released. Although Hagel announced his resignation in November 2014, Sloan, frustrated by continued delays, departed a month later. Lee Wolosky led the Obama administration’s final push to empty the Gitmo detention facility. Another lawyer, he had worked at the National Security Council under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Since July 2015, Wolosky has moved 75 detainees from Guantanamo, getting the count down to 41. A final four were just transferred on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, Foreign Policy reported Thursday. Obama pushed to close the prison up until the bitter end. On Thursday, in his final hours as president, he sent one last letter to Congress urging lawmakers to “close a facility that never should have been opened in the first place” and warning them that “history will cast a harsh judgment on this aspect of our fight against terrorism and those of us who fail to bring it to a responsible end.” The remaining prisoners will become President Trump’s problem, as will the decision whether to continue the effort to empty Guantanamo. So far, Trump has indicated he wants to keep the camp open and even increase the number of prisoners — to “load it up with some bad dudes,” he said, potentially by bringing in people with ties to the Islamic State. He has also said he would be “fine” with sending Americans accused of terrorism to Guantanamo. The men Obama asked to shutter Guantanamo have mixed feelings about their legacies. “Now what people will say is, ‘Aw, they failed.’ But you know, as failures go, that’s pretty damn good,” said Fried. “Lee Wolosky, I think in the end he moved more than I did. The administration deserves credit.” Even if Obama’s team didn’t ultimately close Guantanamo, Fried said, “that last year-and-a-half effort is impressive.” Sloan is also pleased with the final number, or at least the work that went into releasing so many detainees. “It’s great progress,” he said, “and great progress is a very good thing.” But Moran, the congressman who wanted to close the camp, refuses to express any glass-half-full optimism. “It will be recorded in history as a stain on our nation’s soul, much in the way that other things we have done define us in ways we don’t want to accept, like slavery and the genocide of Native Americans,” he said. “I think they are just going to rot there for the rest of their lives.” Sign up for the HuffPost Must Reads newsletter. Each Sunday, we will bring you the best original reporting, longform writing and breaking news from The Huffington Post and around the web, plus behind-the-scenes looks at how it’s all made. Click here to sign up! -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

18 января, 04:53

Ukraine: The Key to Any American Russia Policy

Sagatom Saha Security, Eurasia The United States cannot pursue half measures that will intensify hostilities, unless it is fully prepared to counter all of the Kremlin’s escalations. Despite flirtations with Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump will be pressed to confront Russia’s emboldened aggression when he takes office. Amid concerns of election hacking, how Trump tackles this challenge will define his foreign policy and commitment to the American people for many. But combating Russian antagonism requires something more than military bluster. Raising stakes with armed forces may worsen circumstances. If the next administration intends to challenge Moscow and preserve global stability and American clout, it should instead craft its approach around supporting anticorruption and economic reform in Ukraine. For the past eight years, the Kremlin has vexed the Obama administration by opposing the United States wherever and whenever possible. Aside from uncertain sanctions, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, covert invasion of eastern Ukraine and military support of the Assad regime have been largely unhindered. Even if they last, sanctions will do little to persuade Russia to pursue peace anytime soon. Policymakers have criticized President Obama for his ostensibly lax stance. Obama’s own former defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, carped at the president’s slow response to the invasion of Crimea, and Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham have urged the president to provide lethal military aid to Ukraine. Without resistance, Putin will undoubtedly continue to antagonize America’s eastern European partners and exacerbate the Syrian Civil War. However, stepping up military action will quell conflict. Read full article

12 января, 16:12

Mattis says civilian control of military will prevail

Retired Gen. James Mattis on Thursday will seek to reassure Congress that if he becomes the first retired general in nearly 70 years to serve as secretary of Defense, he will honor the tradition of civilian control of the military."I recognize my potential civilian role differs in essence and in substance from my former role in uniform," Mattis will tell the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing, according to his prepared opening statement. "Civilian control of the military is a fundamental tenet of the American military tradition."The armed forces' subordination to political leadership will remain unchanged under his watch, Mattis will pledge."Both the commander in chief and the secretary of Defense must impose an objective strategic calculus in the national security decision-making process and effectively direct its activities," he will tell senators. "Civilian leaders bear these responsibilities because the esprit de corps of our military, its can-do spirit, and its obedience to civilian leadership reduces the inclination and power of the military to criticize or oppose the policy it is ultimately ordered to implement."Current law prohibits retired military officers from serving as the civilian head of the Pentagon for at least seven years after they leave service. Since Mattis retired from the Marine Corps in 2013, he will require a special waiver passed by both houses of Congress.The only exception made since the establishment of the Department of Defense in 1947 was for retired Gen. George Marshall in 1950. Mattis' nomination and the separate waiver are expected to garner bipartisan support in the Senate and House.But President-elect Donald Trump's choice of Mattis - one of several retired generals named to his Cabinet - has not been without controversy. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democratic member of SASC, has said she will not back the waiver out of concern for setting a precedent that could erode civilian control of the military. And on Wednesday, the House Armed Services Committee canceled an appearance by Mattis - scheduled to occur after his Senate confirmation hearing - on the topic of civilian control of the military after the Trump transition team told Mattis not to appear.The abrupt decision angered Republicans and Democrats on the panel, though it is not clear that it will affect the ultimate outcome when the full House votes on the waiver. Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, while lauding Mattis' qualifications, has expressed concern that with all of his military experience Mattis might eclipse the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a body that’s supposed to provide independent military advice to the president. Mattis will be introduced to the Senate panel Thursday by William Cohen, who served as secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration and as a Republican senator from Maine.Mattis will testify that his top goals will be to enhance the preparedness of the armed forces, work more closely with allies, and make the unwieldy Pentagon bureaucracy more efficient. "If you confirm me, my watchwords will be solvency and security in providing for the protection of our people and the survival of our freedoms," according to his statement. "My priorities as secretary of Defense will be to strengthen military readiness, strengthen our alliances in league with our diplomatic partners, and bring business reforms to the Department of Defense by instilling budget discipline and holding our leaders accountable."He will also kick off the hearing with a personal note - about his immigrant mother. "I have worked at the Pentagon twice in my career. But few people may know I am not the first person in my family to do so. When, in the wartime spring of 1942, my mother was 20 years old and working in military intelligence, she was part of the first wave of government employees to move into the still-unfinished Pentagon. She had come to America as an infant and lives today on the banks of the Columbia in the Pacific Northwest. Little could she imagine in her youth that more than 90 years after she immigrated to this country, and 75 years after she first walked through the doors of the War Department, one of her sons would be sitting here today before the Senate."

10 января, 05:10

Republicans Used To Care About Cabinet Disclosures. Then Trump Won.

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); WASHINGTON ― Senate Republicans used to care about Cabinet nominees making full disclosures ― at least they cared when President Barack Obama was the one doing the nominating. So concerned with the potential for foreign conflicts of interest that, in 2013, Republicans demanded unprecedented disclosures from a member of their own party: former Sen. Chuck Hagel, Obama’s nominee for secretary of Defense. “This Committee, and the American people, have a right to know if a nominee for Secretary of Defense has received compensation, directly or indirectly, from foreign sources,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), then one month into the job, wrote in a letter to Hagel that was signed by 25 additional Republican senators. “Until the Committee receives full and complete answers, it cannot in good faith determine whether you should be confirmed as Secretary of Defense.” But now that President-elect Donald Trump looks apt to retain a financial stake in his multibillion-dollar business enterprise ― with deals connected to foreign businesses and a hotel that is being rented out by foreign governments ― the GOP no longer seems to care. Republicans in both the House and Senate have refused to hold hearings on Trump’s conflicts of interest, and there is no apparent concern that some of the nine Cabinet nominees scheduled to testify this week have so far failed to properly disclose their financial holdings or reach the customary agreement with the Office of Government Ethics. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who signed Cruz’s letter and defended Cruz’s attacks against Hagel during a committee vote on the nomination, made no attempt to hide the hypocrisy. When The Huffington Post asked Inhofe on Monday night if this same standard of disclosing foreign payments should apply to Trump’s Cabinet nominees, he said it shouldn’t. “So it’s different now because it’s Trump?” we asked. “That’s just right,” Inhofe said. “That’s right?” we asked to clarify. “Yeah,” he said. A spokeswoman later tried to walk back Inhofe’s answers. “Of course we don’t believe there’s a double standard when it comes to President-elect Trump’s Cabinet picks,” said Daisy Letendre, Inhofe’s communications director. Inhofe, it seems, had made the great political mistake of telling the truth, but you can listen to the exchange ― complete with guffaws from surrounding reporters surprised by his honesty ― here. function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_2'),onPlayerReadyVidible); Other Republicans have been more careful than Inhofe to admit the hypocrisy. To highlight the duplicity, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) took a 2009 letter laying out eight standards for nominees that then-Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had sent to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), changed the names with a sharpie, and then sent it back to McConnell via Twitter. Our requests are eminently reasonable, shared by leaders of both parties. I'll return this letter to @SenateMajLdr with the same requests. pic.twitter.com/IMT7ZtJFjV— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 9, 2017 Democrats have asked for a delay in the hearings until the nominees who had not been fully vetted by OGE as of late Monday ― Ben Carson, Betsy DeVos and Wilbur Ross ― complete the vetting process, but that request is being ignored. McConnell has labeled those calls to postpone confirmation hearings for Trump’s nominees “little procedural complaints.” McConnell also signed Cruz’s letter demanding the unprecedented disclosures from Hagel. Part of the GOP double standard seems to be a belief that OGE might intentionally be dragging its feet. “There’s a concern, frankly, that the government ethics office is not working with us expeditiously,” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who also signed Cruz’s letter, said Monday. “There’s a concern there that I’ve heard expressed.” Typically, administrations work with OGE before nominees are put forward to work out potential conflicts of interest, but the Trump administration did not do that, and nominees were late to get their paperwork into the ethics office. Now Republicans are rushing to confirm Trump’s nominees without even the standard level of vetting, let alone the additional standards they applied to Hagel. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who also had signed Cruz’s letter, said Senate Republicans have asked for a number of the same disclosures that they demanded of Obama nominees. “So we’ll see what answer we get on it in the next couple days,” Rubio said. But if they don’t get those documents, would Rubio vote to block any of the nominees? “Let’s see the answers first,” he said. Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.), who signed Cruz’s letter in 2013, said the same standards should apply now as they did then. Presented with the fact that Republicans were holding hearings this week on nominees who have not received a letter of approval from OGE, McCain said the Senate should have all the information necessary. “But I don’t know about the specific nominees,” he said. “I’m taking care of the ones that go through the defense ― the Armed Services Committee.” While McCain turns a blind eye to the nominees not under his jurisdiction, he did, to his credit, come to Hagel’s defense against Cruz’s attack in 2013. When other Republicans were threatening a walkout over the Hagel vote, McCain issued a news release saying Hagel had “fulfilled the rigorous requirements” and that a vote was appropriate. He also called Cruz’s attack at the time “out of bounds.” Cabinet nominees are already required by committees to disclose whether they have “received any compensation from, or been involved in any financial or business transactions with, a foreign government or an entity controlled by a foreign government” over the past 10 years. Hagel stated that he could not produce such disclosures, as he was no longer employed at any of the firms targeted for disclosure by Senate Republicans. Cruz took that answer to imply that Hagel must have received ethically disqualifying payments. “We do not know, for example, if he received compensation for giving paid speeches at extreme or radical groups,” Cruz said. “It is at a minimum relevant to know if that $200,000 that he deposited in his bank account came directly from Saudi Arabia, came directly from North Korea.’’ It was an attack that then-Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said was reminiscent of Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunt against supposed communists in the government in the 1950s, and it brought Cruz a quick reputation as someone not interested in making nice with the collegial Senate. At least, that was then. Asked Monday if the standard he set for Hagel should apply to Trump nominees, Cruz ignored the question and told us to contact his office. Sign up for the HuffPost Must Reads newsletter. Each Sunday, we will bring you the best original reporting, longform writing and breaking news from The Huffington Post and around the web, plus behind-the-scenes looks at how it’s all made. Click here to sign up! -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.